Make. Do. is a new nonprofit organization in Searcy that creates community through craft classes.
Since opening in March 2017, Make.Do.’s mission is to build a creative community that ministers to adolescent girls and adult women through the craft of sewing. They offer sewing classes for the public and partner directly with organizations such as Hope Cottage, a local nonprofit women’s shelter owned by White County Domestic Violence Prevention Inc., to support a creative platform for personal development and building relationships in a new community, according to Make.Do. founder, Jo Ellis.
“The meaning behind the name is that the ‘Make’ is our vision to restore hope through creativity,” Ellis said. “The ‘Do’ is our mission to encourage and support each other through community and compassion.”
According to Ellis, the lemon theme in her logo and throughout her studio symbolizes the proverbial phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” She said when you have been given sour circumstances, you have to make do with what you have.
“I think that in making lemonade, there is creativity happening,” Ellis said. “You’re taking lemons and infusing them with water and sugar to be shared. I’ve never seen anyone sit in the corner with a pitcher of lemonade to drink by themselves. A pitcher of lemonade implies offering it to other people.”
Senior Zeta Rho co-vice president, Lauren Van Eaton, met Ellis through a home Bible study and heard of her vision for Make. Do. Van Eaton said watching Ellis transform her dream into a reality was inspiring.
“God created people in his own image,” Van Eaton said. “When we are creative, or accomplish a task, or have an original idea, we are most in touch with God`s creative image inside of us. To have a space where people can connect through their mutual creativity because of the creativity of our maker and to instill purpose in each other is a beautiful thing, and Make.Do. provides that.”
According to Van Eaton, Zeta Rho’s role is to help fundraise for Make.Do. and to help spread awareness of the benefits of a creative community. On Friday, the earrings Zeta Rho will be crafting are for their new members this fall during club week, according to Van Eaton. Ellis is hoping to use Zeta Rho as an avenue into the campus community by developing relationships with other clubs in the future, Van Eaton added.
Kay Candlish, executive director of Hope Cottage, said their recent partnership will benefit the Searcy community.
“The women that come through our program have been emotionally beaten down,” Candlish said. “They feel like they’re worthless because they’ve been told that constantly. Our role at Hope Cottage is to refer our clients to Make. Do. to empower them and give them a safe community.”
“College Night” will be a recurring event offered for college students starting on Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and again on Oct. 16 and Nov. 6 at their location, 213 W Arch Ave, on the second floor above Sowell’s Furniture. A $5 entry fee will be collected to further the projects created by Make. Do.